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Brown School, Shape Up Somerville to pilot “Safe Routes to School” Walk to School Program

Posted by boston.com  March 4, 2014 10:00 AM

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The following was submitted by the City of Somerville: 

Starting Monday, March 3, 2014 parents/guardians and students at the Brown School will have the option of taking advantage of a new Walk to School program to support their student’s active participation in the City’s “Safe Routes to School” initiative. 

The Brown School is partnering with Shape Up Somerville, the Somerville Police Department, and Somerville Traffic and Parking to promote a new daily “Walk to School” pilot program that encourages parents and guardians to walk with their students to school to help their children develop healthy habits early in life. The new drop-off zone will be near the intersection of Morrison and Willow Avenues.  Students and parents/guardians can then walk the 3 blocks to school.
 
“The City of Somerville is an international leader in promoting and supporting healthy and active lifestyles, and we are nationally-ranked in the safe opportunities we provide for walking and biking among residents of all ages,” said Somerville Mayor, Joseph A. Curtatone. “In the ten years since the inception of Shape Up Somerville, our focus on making health and wellness fun and engaging for children and families has increased physical activity and healthy eating across the board, but we continue our work to make Somerville a safe and healthy community by educating our young residents on the benefits of starting early with simple steps like walking to school. We hope all families will take advantage of this exciting program and help us teach our children about the benefits of being active.”
 
“Teaching our children the habit of daily walking will keep them active and healthy for life,” added David Hudson, director of Shape Up Somerville.  “We know that students who are physically active during the school day do better in the classroom, which is why this new pilot program at the Brown School is so important for students and staff.”
 
The Brown School’s “Walk to School” program is designed to provide students a safer route to school while promoting an active start to the school day. The alternate drop-off zone will also help alleviate morning traffic congestion and pollution around the school, offering parents/guardians the opportunity to safely walk their students a few blocks to school, and the benefit of a less stressful start to their own busy days.
 
“We are committed to supporting the whole child and promoting healthy lifestyle habits,” said Tony Pierantozzi, Superintendent of Schools. “This pilot program at the Brown School is the latest example of how much our community values health and wellness and how strongly we believe that focusing on the whole child leads to academic success.  We will continue partnering with Shape Up Somerville, parents/ guardians, and our community on projects, activities and initiatives that promote active, healthy lifestyles.”
 
This pilot program is the latest in a series of Safe Routes to School and other programs designed to promote healthy lifestyles to students and their parents/guardians. Other programs include Walking School Buses, promotion of Park and Walk at all schools, monthly Friday Walk to School days, and new “No Idling Zone” signage at schools.

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